Monday, November 16, 2015

It's a lot more than you think . . .

"Islam is a religion of peace" is an idea that is wearing thin . . .

I heard the news, like many of you, last Friday night and I said to myself, "here we go again."  After getting over the initial shock, I thought of the talking heads and the politicians who would be trying to soothe us by reminding us that terrorists are not true to the spirit of Islam.


I think we need to give up on the idea that you can say anything about "Islam."  There are so many varieties and interpretations of Islam that you oversimplify it by classifying it as any one thing.  So we can't say that Islam is evil but we also can't say it is a religion of peace because both views are naive. 

Consider this:

There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.  Most of whom are peace-loving and interested in religious coexistence.  Some I have personally met in the cafes of Northern Africa - most of whom cannot stand groups like ISIS.

However, even when you temper the most aggressive statistics (a range of between .01% to 25%) the number of Muslims who have been radicalized total in the tens of millions.  Millions of people who support bringing the world under the submission of Islamic law aggressively.

That's a force we have to recognize and deal with.

And we don't do it well.  In the west we tend to think in terms of economics.  We think of poor people have been taken advantage of by wealthy clerics.  The truth is that ISIS controls an area bigger than Great Britain because of it's desire to see the world return to a medieval power structure that looks to usher in the apocalypse.

ISIS - hated by non-radical Muslims - is committed to killing large numbers of people that are kafir or apostate (which includes behaviors like not shaving your beard, wearing Western clothing or not support traditional understandings of the Koran - even Sunni's are apostate.)  

ISIS sees itself as bringing in the end times in which a Messianic figure (or mahdi) will lead a battle in Northern Syria against the forces of Rome (read the Christian Church).  Islam's influence will expand for a while but there will be a final battle at the end in which God Himself intervenes.  Even Jesus (Islam's second-highest prophet shows up to assist in the end times for Muslims).  Muslims even had a Daijal or what Christians would call an Anti-Christ - and ISIS is eager to bring in this last chapter of humanity through carnage.  And a whole lot of people are eager to help them.  

So yeah, there is a whole lot more to this than we understand in the Western World.

And if we don't at some point confront this on ideological grounds it could get pretty messy.  So again - Islam is not evil.  Muslims are not bad.  But if we think for a second that this threat from ISIS is not about Islam we are kidding ourselves and the joke is on us.  

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